It was a tough assignment… I had to arrange a field trip for a small group, to a San Francisco restaurant to eat and drink.
As the producer of Check, Please! Bay Area and the new web series Taste This, the options were endless. But the hidden gem of Sociale (So-CHI- aH-leh) called to me. Their small, but very well-chosen wine list, curated by wine director, Rebecca Fineman and owner, David Nichol, paired perfectly with chef/owner Tia Harrison’s food.
Introductions for the seventeen guests began at 6pm with a glass of what we learned was a special, very dry Prosecco, chosen for its crisp, almost yeasty similarity to Champagne. Not a bad way to begin a Tuesday evening as the fog rolled along outside on Sacramento Street.
Arneis, the only white wine of the three Piedmont wines that followed, was next. We learned that wine had texture and I likened this one to satin. Then a Barbera and a Barolo, each one so different that it’s hard to think that they grow so close together in the same region.
Wine tasting makes you hungry and so I set everyone to the task of building the best crostini to pair with the Barbera. Prizes of bottles of wine and dinner-for-two at Sociale, were motivation for the competition. With plenty of ingredients, there were plenty of taste combinations possible.
You’ll find my and Sociale judges, David, Tia and Rebecca’s winning recipe from Molly Hovorka, Sophie Curtis, and Sebastian Von Nagel below.
Recipe: Winning Smoked Duck Breast Crostini
by Molly Hovorka, Sophie Curtis, Sebastian Von Nagel
Makes 6 crostini
- 6 slices rustic bread such as ciabatta, about 1 inch thick, lightly toasted
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons finely grated ricotta salata cheese
- 1 large smoked duck breast, thinly sliced
- Extra minced chives for garnish
- To assemble, drizzle the oil over the toasted bread, and sprinkle generously with chives, lemon zest and cheese.
- Arrange the duck breast on top. Garnish with extra chives. Serve immediately.